In a follow-up on the hepatitis A outbreak in Portugal, the outbreak that began earlier this year has grown to 242 cases, according to the director general of Health, Francisco George, according to a local media report.

hepatitis AThis is up from 138 cases one month ago.

According to the head of the Viral Hepatitis Program of the Directorate-General for Health, 93 percent of cases occur in men and 57 percent have been confirmed sexually.

Isabel Aldir also said that most situations (almost 90 percent) occur in people from 18 to 50 years, especially in people aged 18 to 39 years.

The outbreak has affected nine other European countries- Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom and as of May 1, 674 confirmed cases have been reported as associated with these outbreaks since 1 June 2016.

According to European health authorities, the main prevention measure in the context of the current outbreaks is hepatitis A vaccination of MSM. The ECDC guidance for HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention among men who have sex with men encourages Member States to offer and promote vaccination of MSM against hepatitis A. Information on vaccine availability should be included in health promotion programmes targeting MSM, particularly at sex venues.

Hepatitis A is transmitted person-to-person through the fecal-oral/sexual route. Among MSM, Hepatitis A can be spread through direct anal-oral contact or contact with fingers or objects that have been in or near the anus of an infected person and contaminated with stool.